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Teaching RACE and Unlearning Racism

 

For Immediate Release
 
Contact
Lauren Schwartz
AAA Media Relations
lschwartz@aaanet.org
(703)528-1902 x1164
 
Teaching RACE and Unlearning Racism
Project Exploring Race in America proves to be a Catalyst for Change
 
May 6, 2009 – According to a recent New York Times/CBS News Poll, two-thirds of Americans grade race relations in the United States as “generally good” – a marked increase over the last several months that many attribute to the election of President Obama. More proof of this change is evident in the success of RACE: Are We So Different?
 
The project, a public education program of the American Anthropological Association, consists of a traveling museum exhibit, an interactive website (www.understandingRACE.org), and freely available educational materials. RACE Teacher’s Guides are in use across the country and new curricular materials are being developed with input from experts and various school systems.
 
Teaching Race and Unlearning Racism
 
The goal of the project is to definitively explain the history, explore contemporary relevance, and create an ongoing national dialogue about race. When asked how it can help address racial inequalities, Yolanda Moses, Co-Chair of the RACE Advisory Board, responded:
 
Education and dialogue are essential steps for solving any problem, and we as a nation still have a lot to learn and discuss about race. Contrary to common belief, the idea of human races is only a few hundred years old, and it is a powerful relic of our colonial past. It’s vital that everyone know this because it implies that disparities in health, wealth and educational achievement simply do not reflect innate or natural differences. Instead, they result from barriers that we as a society have created for some people, based on physical and cultural differences that often say little about a person.
 
RACE provides a framework for understanding and appreciating our differences. The election of President Obama suggests we’re making progress toward racial equality. It signals that ideas about race, including racism, are learned, and therefore can be unlearned. RACE takes us further down that road.
 
The traveling exhibit just wrapped up in Cincinnati.  The next stop will be the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia and opens on May 30. The tour, which launched in 2007, was originally set to conclude at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in 2011 but has been extended until 2014. Due to overwhelmingly positive response, a replica and smaller version of the exhibit are being produced and will join the tour beginning in 2010.
 
To learn about RACE and unlearn racism, please visit www.understandingRACE.org.
 
For a complete listing of the original tour dates near you, please visit: http://www.understandingrace.com/about/tour.html.
 
For questions, contact RACE Project Manager Joseph Jones at jjones@aaanet.org or (703) 528-1902, ext. 1171.
 
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Founded in 1902, the American Anthropological Association is the world's largest professional organization of anthropologists and others interested in anthropology, with an average annual membership of more than 10,000. The Arlington, Va.-based association represents all specialties within anthropology — cultural anthropology, biological (or physical) anthropology, archaeology, linguistics and applied anthropology.


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